Elementary Science Program


magnetMagnets & Motors


Explore the properties of magnets, including their ability to act as a compass:

  • Explore the properties of electromagnets

  • Build a simple electric motor, and explore how a small commercially produced electric motor works

  • Books for Kids
  • Teacher Resources
  • Web Sites
  • Tips and Hints

Books for Kids

Awesome Experiments in Electricity and Magnetism Michael Dispezio. Sterling, 1999. ISBN 0-8069-9819-9. Electricity, switches, circuits, and magnetism's connection to electricity are explained in a n entertaining style. Experiments and suggestions for more in-depth investigations extend the learning. (STC Literature Links)

The Lightbulb Joseph Wallace. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 1999. ISBN 0-689-82816-0.  The development of the light bulb is presented along with further advancements. The text is simple enough for elementary students to understand and the photographs make the book interesting. (STC Literature Links)

The Telephone Sarah Gearhart. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 1999. ISBN 0-689-82815-2. Gearhart presents many details in an east-to-work-with format. Students read about and view the development of the telephone. (STC Literature Links)

The New Way Things Work David Macauly. Coughton/A Walter Lorraine Book, 1998. ISBN 0-395-93847-3. It's bigger and better, with even more machines than before. Now, computers are included. Readers can expect a high level of detail in the drawings and explanations. (STC Literature Links)

Book of Science Questions that Children Ask Jack Meyers. Boyds Mills Pr, 1995, ISBN 1563974789. An 11-year old reader from Broomall, Pa, writes "This book help me do my homework all the time. Trust me and buy this book." (amazon.com) Selected from back issues of Highlights for Children magazine, this collection of answers to over 350 children's questions about science covers a wide range of science topics.

Teacher Resources

Material Properties and Change Curriculum Companion contains detailed resources tailored to modules dealing with energy. Take a look at the growing list of resources for this module. Background info, enrichment, interdisciplinary ideas, images, assessment, tips and comments, and kids web pages are all included in this useful site.

Magnets and Magnetism contains brief explanations of the basics of magnets and magnetism.

Electricity and Magnetism is another site providing background information for teachers. Clear diagrams enhance the material.

The Magnets & Motors Toolkit contains suggestions for each of the activities as well as links to other helpful sites.

Magnets & Motors


Web Sites

Make a motor in ten minutes by following the simple, clearly illustrated instructions. The motor is very similar to the one built by the students. Radio Shack part numbers are given for many of the materials needed to build the motor.

The Flying Turtle Science and Technology Exploration Site - The FT Exploring site is packed to the brim with essays on a range of topics - such a range, in fact, that it's hard to pin down exactly what the main theme is. The authors (a distinctly wacky father and son team from Idaho) have worked hard to produce hand-illustrated sections on plants and photosynthesis, energy (or 'the Mysterious Everything' as they like to call it) and the mechanics of insects amongst other things, all written in an idiosyncratic, chatty style aimed at younger visitors. The information is largely very interesting and well-done, though areas of the site do zoom off on tangents: the "not-necessarily-scientific" section where Turtle Boy has a lengthy discussion with cartoon aliens about whether or not basketball players know much about batteries... would be an example. All in all - aside from the occasional clutter and inconsistent navigation - a good introduction to some big science subjects, if you don't mind being educated by reptiles. (New Scientist, 31 January 2003)

Tips and Hints